IPT Book Reviews

Title: Dissociative Identity Disorder: Theoretical and Treatment Controversies
Editors: Lewis Cohen, Joan Berzoff, and Mark Elin
Publisher: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1995

Jason Aronson, Inc.
230 Livingston Street
Northvale, NJ 07647
(800) 782-0015
$50.00 (c)

This 541-page book consists of contributions from clinicians and academicians representing a variety of opinions about Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). The book is divided into three parts: (1) does DID really exist? (2) theoretical controversies, and (3) treatment controversies. There are references after each chapter and an index at the end.

DID, formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, remains highly controversial and the contributors reflect this controversy. The authors range from those who are skeptical that DID can exist without suggestion and preparation to those who completely accept DID and believe in the existence of widespread satanic ritual abuse. Denise Gelinas not only maintains that satanic ritual abuse exists, but asserts that the tunnels and a secret underground room were found under the McMartin preschool. [See Related Journal Article]

The book begins with a chapter by a skeptic, Harold Merskey, followed by correspondence and Dr. Merskey's replies. This provides a good overview of the issues and controversy. The chapter by August Piper, Jr., a skeptic, provides a particularly clear critique of DID. Dr. Piper finds the notion of alter personalities imprecise and stresses the need for clear diagnostic criteria.

This is a thought-provoking collection of papers that should be useful to mental health professionals working with clients and their families where this disorder is claimed. It will be of interest to readers who are curious about this impassioned and heated debate.

Reviewed by LeRoy G. Schultz, Emeritus Professor of Social Work, West Virginia University.

Order this book: Hardcover

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